Writing Strategy #3 – Write for One Hour

Every week, The Adventurous Writer features a writing strategy from Quips & Tips for Successful Writers (or another first-rate source!). This week, the strategy is how to “write for one hour.”

My sample chapters to a publisher are due in a couple of weeks, my series of seven health articles is due in one week, an editor needs me to rewrite an introduction to an article I recently submitted (my original isn’t gripping enough), and my blog schedule may be just a little too demanding.


How do you write when you feel overwhelmed, unmotivated, or just plain not good enough?

You work for one hour.

This is one of the most effective ways to write books, articles, and book proposals: tackle your target in short bursts of time. You can get a surprising amount of work done in one hour, my friends. And even if you “just” get one paragraph or one page written in your hour, you’ll write another paragraph or page in another hour, and then another…and before you know it you’ll have a pile of writing.

Trust me. It works. My three sample chapters of See Jane Soar are due soon and even though I’m plagued those familiar old writing demons, I’m chipping away at the chapters for an hour a day…and they’re coming to life.

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Here’s what accomplished writer – and writing teacher – Natalie Goldberg says about writing (and being a wanna-bee writer).

“I hear people say they’re going to write. I ask, when?” she says. “They give me vague statements. Indefinite plans get dubious results. When we’re concrete about our writing time, it alleviates that thin constant feeling of anxiety that writers have – we’re barbecuing hot dogs, riding a bike, sailing out in the bay, shopping for shoes, even helping a sick friend, but somewhere nervously at the periphery of our perception we know we belong somewhere else – at our desk!”

If you want to be a writer, then you have to write. If you feel overwhelmed (like I do), then you have to write in smaller chunks of time. If you’re seriously struggling with procrastination, read 5 Tips for Ending Your Writing Procrastination.

If you love to write but you wrestle with your writer’s voice, you might find my Writing Strategy 1 helpful: Letting Your Writing Go.

And finally…if you’d like to learn more about my book idea that’s hooked a few publishers (but hasn’t reeled them in quite yet), visit See Jane Soar.

Laurie's "She Blossoms" Books

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Growing Forward When You Can't Go Back offers hope, encouragement, and strength for women walking through loss. My Blossom Tips are fresh and practical - they stem from my own experiences with a schizophrenic mother, foster homes, a devastating family estrangement, and infertility.

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How to Let Go of Someone You Love: Powerful Secrets (and Practical Tips!) for Healing Your Heart is filled with comforting and healthy breakup advice. The Blossom Tips will help you loosen unhealthy attachments to the past, seal your heart with peace, and move forward with joy.

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When You Miss Him Like Crazy: 25 Lessons to Move You From Broken to Blossoming After a Breakup will help you refocus your life, re-create yourself, and start living fully again! Your spirit will rise and you'll blossom into who you were created to be.

What are your thoughts? I welcome your comments or questions about this writing strategy – writing for just one hour – below…

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5 thoughts on “Writing Strategy #3 – Write for One Hour

  • Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

    That’s a great way to achieve your writing goals, Mary Jo! Step away from the computer….

    Happy writing,

  • Mary Jo Campbell

    I follow you on Twitter and just now found your blog! What a find, indeed! As a mom and full time employee, every spare minute counts to achieve my writing goals. When I have an hour, though, my problem is the internet. I find that if I do the bulk of my “writing” by hand away from the computer, and have a rough draft to type and edit as I go, the internet doesn’t call quite as loudly!

  • Darren

    Yeah, I like this “write for one hour” idea. I tried it years ago, and it usually turned into 2-3 hours.

    I lost the habit, though. Life happened. But now I’m ready to write again.


  • Laurie PK


    Thank you so much for your kind words — you made my day 🙂

    It sounds like you have a lot on the go, and I suspect you’ll be very successful in your future endeavors. Your enthusiasm, intellect, and strong writing skills are evident in your comment. You go, Girl with the Red Hair!!

    Best wishes,
    .-= Laurie PK´s last blog post…5 Tips for Ending Your Writing Procrastination =-.

  • Amber from Girl with the Red Hair

    Hi Laurie – I just found your blog a few weeks ago and I’ve been soaking it up! I love all the advice you have for freelance writers over on Quips and Tips!

    I’m a full-time journalism student, part-time PR intern and part-time freelance writer. I have to get a lot of writing done to fulfill all those things and sometimes it’s overwhelming and I just want to sit and read blogs (like now). But you’re right, just saying you’re going to write for one hour, or even 30 minutes, really helps. Because more often than not you’re going to keep going longer than that!!

    Anyways, just wanted to drop a line and say I REALLY enjoy both your blogs and your tips have been really helpful to me!
    .-= Amber from Girl with the Red Hair´s last blog post…Funky town =-.